Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)
For the past 20 years or more, I have anxiously awaited this time of year. Granted, the Lord is not obligated to comply with my speculations. The times are fully under His sovereign will and control, and I am more than happy to submit to His wisdom and direction. So whatever happens today, tomorrow or in the near future, I am fully trusting that God’s plan will be fulfilled in accordance with His perfect timing to which I am not, nor is anyone else, privy.
The reason for my excitement at this season, is that many years ago I learned that the Feasts of the Lord given to Israel in Exodus were given as a pattern for the future ministry of Christ. The first four feasts came in the spring and were fulfilled by Christ in His flesh. Jesus fulfilled Passover as the Lamb of God on the cross, followed by the Feast of Unleavened Bread. At this feast, all leaven, which represented sin, was to be removed and cast out of the house. Jesus fulfilled this by taking upon Himself our sin and being buried in the earth. Then followed the Feast of First Fruits, which celebrated new life. Jesus fulfilled this feast when He rose from the dead as the “first fruit” of the resurrection. After His resurrection, Jesus walked on the earth for 40 days and ascended into heaven. Ten days later, at the Feast of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended upon His followers fulfilling the spring harvest which continues to this day.
Three feasts remain to be fulfilled, and they are the fall feasts. The first is the Feast of Trumpets, or Rosh HaShanah, the beginning of the new civil year. Eight days later Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, follows, and then four days after that is Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles (Booths), which is celebrated for eight days. The Feast of Trumpets was a holy convocation or gathering. On the Day of Atonement, sacrifices were offered for the sins of the nation. The high priest first had to offer a sacrifice for his own sins, and then he offered a sacrifice for the sins of the people. He carried the blood of the sacrifice into the temple, and only at this time could he enter into the Holy of Holies that housed the Ark of the Covenant where the presence of the Lord dwelt. As he entered into this most holy place, the chimes on the hem of his robe jingled gaving notice to those without that he was still alive and moving inside. A rope was tied to one of his ankles should the displeasure of the Lord strike him dead. Those outside would not be able to enter the most holy place to extract him, but they could drag him out by the rope. So, in he would go and take the blood of the sacrifice, and there upon the Mercy Seat (the covering of the Ark), he would pour out the blood of the sacrifice. Inside the Ark resided three elements that represented Israel’s sin against God. The tablets of the Ten Commandments represented God’s Law that had been violated. There was a sample of the manna that represented God’s provision that had been rejected. Finally there was Aaron’s staff that had budded representing God’s leadership against which they had rebelled. The contents of the Ark, therefore, represented Israel’s offences against God. These were covered by the sacrificial blood. This was indeed a most solemn and remorseful occasion. Four days later sorrow was followed by a joyous celebration as Israel commemorated their wanderings in the wilderness living in temporary housing – tents, i.e., tabernacles. During this time, God provided food and water for them, and their clothes and shoes did not wear out. More than that, God was always present with them in the form of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. These last three feasts are yet to be fulfilled by the Lord Jesus Christ.
So how is that relevant to us? We are told in the Old Testament, and affirmed in the New Testament, that Christ will return and set up His kingdom on earth for 1000 years. (I have written about this in the past and so have many others, so I will skip the details for now.) Before that happens, seven years of “tribulation” will come upon the earth and mankind (Daniel 9:24-27). According to the pre-tribulation view of end-times, which I loosely hold, Christ will come for His Bride – the Church, the body of all true believers – and take her out of this world to save her from the wrath to come. This is what is known as the Rapture of the church (1 Thessalonians 4:14-18). This event, we are told, will be preceded “with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God” (1 Thessalonians 4:16, emphasis mine). Our leading verse says that it will be “at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:52, emphasis mine).
Today, September 13, 2015, is Elul 29 on the Jewish calendar. It is the last day of the Jewish civil year. I understand that every day during the month of Elul, the shofar (the trumpet) is sounded. The following day is Rosh HaShanah (the Feast of Trumpets) when the final trumpet is sounded calling all of Israel to gather at the temple. I believe that for the Church, the Bride of Christ, that will be the call to gather to Him, and thus fulfilling the first of the fall feasts. Tomorrow, September 14, 2015, Tishri 1 on the Jewish calendar, is that day.
There are many reasons to believe that the Rapture will occur tomorrow, although I will not presume upon God and make an emphatic or dogmatic statement. Today (Elul 29) concludes the Sabbatical Year – the Shemitah. Tomorrow, Tishri 1, announces the beginning of the 70th Year of Jubilee since the observance was given to Israel 3500 years ago. Seven, in biblical numerology is the number of completion. Many other “coincidental” events are also converging around this time as recorded in the last post I shared (http://www.ericbarger.com/focused.doom.htm).
I am not saying categorically that the Rapture will take place tomorrow. But I will say this: I will have my ear cocked toward the eastern sky listening for that last trump. I may be disappointed, but never disheartened or discouraged because the Lord promised that He would return (John 14:1-3), and I know that He will when HE is ready. I need to be ready too. Are you?